REVIEW: ‘Neighbors’ offers more than dirty jokes

REVIEW: ‘Neighbors’ offers more than dirty jokes

Photo: YouTube

Genre: Comedy | Run Time: 96 min | Rated: R
Director: Nicholas Stoller | Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Dave Franco

By: George Wolf

How do you feel about dirty jokes?

Chances are, you’ll enjoy Neighbors regardless, but a particular appreciation for blue humor is definitely a plus. It’s a frat movie. What else were we expecting?

Here’s what you should expect: fully developed characters, solid performances, onscreen chemistry from the weirdest of pairings, clever direction, sharp writing, and pacing quick enough to make it tough to catch your breath between jokes. And, of course, dirty jokes.
Nice, right?

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play new parents still adjusting to the boring responsibility of adulthood when a fraternity buys the house next door.

What Rogen lacks in range he makes up for in schlubby comic ability, particularly with a script so self-aware and custom-made to his strengths. At one point, when the couple is arguing over who’s to blame for their situation, Rogen’s Mac tells his wife that she has to be the responsible grown up. “Haven’t you ever seen a Kevin James movie?” he asks her. “We can’t both be Kevin James.”

While Rogen is reliably Rogen, Byrne explores new territory and conquers. She more than carries her comic load, and her chemistry with Rogen, in particular, is wonderful.

Truth be told, there’s not a one-note character in the lot. Neighbors never traps itself with old frat boy stereotypes. Sure, they’re all good-looking, vacuous partiers who abuse pledges – that is the basic conflict in the film, after all – but the characters themselves get a fuller treatment than what you might expect.

Zac Efron looks good without a shirt, but he also hits all the right notes, bringing a little depth and empathy to the role of frat president Ted. Dave Franco makes an excellent second banana, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays nicely against type as slacker stoner Scoonie.

The laughs are continuous, and while the film certainly has a heart, it’s not the kind of sappy last-minute-lesson-learned crap that derails most raunchy comedies. There’s an awkward tenderness and humanity that informs the film from start to finish that makes any lessons feel more honest and earned.

Director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) reigns in his tendency to toward excess, bringing the film in at a brisk 96 minutes. He crams those visually arresting minutes with as much deeply flawed human comedy as possible. And at least half that time is spent above the “blue” line.


Read more movie reviews at

Latest News

in Entertainment

‘Ant-Man’ sequel and three more Marvel movies are coming


The superhero universe will add three more as of yet unnamed movies by 2020.

in Entertainment

Carlton says there won’t be a ‘Fresh Prince’ reboot


Alfonso Ribeiro is adamant there will never be a TV reboot of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," because no one can take the place of their "cornerstone" James Avery.

in Music

WATCH: Keith Richards on ‘Crosseyed Heart’ and getting the Stones back in the studio


The Rolling Stones guitarist talks about the overwhelmingly positive response to his third solo album, and getting the Stones back in the studio for the first time in a decade.

in Lifestyle

(Almost) everyone is on social media these days


Social media usage among American adults has ballooned in the past decade with about two-thirds now on social networking sites, Pew Research Center says.

in Entertainment

‘Netflix and chill’ is going to cost you a little more


The price increase only affects new customers to the company's "standard" plan, which allows two viewers use a subscription at once.